Saint Mark UMC gay minister Josh Noblitt to make run for Georgia state House

Josh Noblitt, the openly gay Minister of Social Justice at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, is set to throw his hat in the ring to run for open state House seat that will be available when State Rep. Margaret Kaiser steps down to run for mayor. If elected he would be the first openly gay man elected to the Georgia legislature.

Several people were discussing Noblitt’s run at the recent HRC Atlanta Gala Dinner and the Georgia Voice confirmed Noblitt was set to announce his run as soon as this weekend with his spokesperson, Beth Cope.

The mayoral election is not until 2017. Cathy Woolard, the first openly gay person elected to office in Georgia, is also running for mayor. Kaiser’s seat will be open in 2016 as part of the general election.

House District 59 includes the neighborhoods of Poncey-Highland, Little Five Points, Inman Park, Reynoldstown, North Ormewood Park, Glenwood Park, Ormewood Park, Boulevard Heights, Grant Park, The Villages at Carver, South Atlanta, Lakewood Heights, Polar Rock, Perkerson Park, East Point, Colonial Hills, Frog Hollow, Conley Hills, Semmes, Park, Fort Valley and Greenbriar.

Many in the LGBT community may recall that Noblitt was attacked at gunpoint in an anti-gay crime in Piedmont Park in 2010 by a group of teens. He and his then-partner were able to fight them off and Noblitt went on to hold a community picnic where he had been attacked to try to bring healing.

The attack eventually led to the formation of an Atlanta Police LGBT Advisory Board , which Noblitt was a member of. The board, however, has fallen off in recent years.

Noblitt also showed compassion for his attackers and forgave them, testifying at their sentencing hearing.

In recent years, Noblitt has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality, speaking at numerous marriage equality rallies as well as speaking out at many rallies opposing Georgia’s so called “religious freedom” bill.

From his campaign Facebook page:

Josh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice and also serves on the Ministerial staff at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta overseeing social justice programming and community outreach. Josh completed his Master of Divinity at Emory University in 2004 and was ordained at the Western North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2009. Josh is a Clinical Fellow with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, serves on the Board of Directors for both WonderRoot and For The Kid In Us All, Inc., and is a member of the Emory University Hope Clinic for HIV/AIDS Research Community Advisory Board. Josh is also a member of the volunteer Chaplain Corps for the Atlanta Police Department, serves as President of the South Atlanta Civic League, Vice Chair of Lakewood area Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU)-Y, and a 2011 LEAD Atlanta alumnus.

2012 Atlanta Pride Parade Grand Marshall
Outstanding Atlanta, Class of 2013
LEAD Atlanta Class of 2011
New Leaders Council Class of 2013

Noblitt does face an uphill battle when it comes to an openly gay man being elected to the state legislature, however. Many have tried in the past only to come up short, including three in the last election.

Sources say at least one other person is campaigning for Kaiser’s seat—Eric Teusink, the law partner of Kyle Williams, who lost in a bitter battle for the state Senate to Elena Parent.